Sprint, SBC Set Hot Spot Pact

The companies agree to allow roaming on each other's Wi-Fi networks.
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Sprint

(FON)

and

SBC Communications

(SBC)

set a plan that will give their customers access to both companies' Wi-Fi Internet service hot spots.

Wi-Fi, short for wireless fidelity, allows cell-phone users to connect to the Internet at locations outside the home. Big telcos are banking on growing use of Wi-Fi by their customers to drive service revenue and help pay off expensive network infrastructure investments.

Sprint-owned Wi-Fi locations include the Kansas City, Salt Lake City and Louisville International airports; the Addison, Texas, convention center; and the Tysons Corner, Va., shopping center. The SBC FreedomLink Wi-Fi network encompasses more than 2,300 hot spots nationwide including airports, hotels, coffee shops and the UPS Store and MailBoxes Etc. locations. The companies expect to complete integration efforts and enable roaming as soon as possible.

This is the second major service provider roaming contract signed by Sprint, which earlier reached an agreement with

AT&T Wireless

(AWE)

regarding reciprocal airport property Wi-Fi access.

Sprint is focusing on providing Wi-Fi services in high-traffic areas such as airports, hotels, convention centers and other public venues where customers tend to need it most and can derive the greatest benefit. The company has over 2,600 Wi-Fi hot spots where Sprint PCS Wi-Fi Access service is currently available chiefly through roaming agreements in effect across the U.S. and Canada with a number of industry players, including AT&T Wireless, AirPath, WayPort, STSN and TruckStop.net.

On Friday, Sprint was at $19.42 and SBC was at $25.74.